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So Proudly We Wave
Miami Beach, Fl
by Mark Thompson & Robert Doyle
November 10, 2008
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It’s a good thing gays believe in rainbows—and the power of potent symbolism.  Because just when it seemed the sky could hardly be more storm-crossed, thanks to the hypocrites and demagogues who voted to write discrimination into the constitutions of Florida, California, Arizona, and Arkansas (and that’s just the consequence of the most recent election—let’s not even talk about the more than thirty other states that have already done so…), along comes Miami Beach Mayor Matti Herrera Bower and her Miami Beach Gay Business Development Committee, along with the Miami Beach Commission, to raise a rainbow flag proudly—and remind us that long shall we wave, regardless of how the bigots vote. 

And so, for the first time in the Beach’s history, at City Hall, at four p.m. on Monday, the 10th of November, 2008, the LGBT rainbow flag rose up the pole and waved in tandem with the Stars and Stripes.  Side by side, as we should be—gay and lesbian, straight, bisexual, and transgender—and all of us citizens of the United States.  Now, if we can only be invested with all the rights of full citizenship—such as the approximately 1,138 benefits that the United States government grants married couples.

For as Mayor Bower reminded us, discrimination is discrimination—whether it’s discrimination because of a woman’s dress size—or discrimination based on one’s sexual orientation.  And so we marched from City Hall, a ragtag and merry band of gay men and women, some on bicycles and some on Harley road hogs (and some of us puffy-fresh from the aesthetician…), looking glam and determined as we raised another rainbow flag at Score Bar, and then another at the New World Symphony, and then on to Washington Avenue to the Miami Beach Police Department where the flag raising ceremony was hosted by Assistant Chief Martinez who spoke movingly and eloquently about protecting “all the citizenry of Miami Beach.”  Tears were shed.  For it was nearly forty years ago, at a bar called Stonewall in New York’s Village, that a ragtag band of drag queens fought the NYPD for their rights—and jump-started the gay rights movement.  Today, we’re still fighting, but here in Miami Beach, we’ve got the police to protect us—and a Mayor who inspires us—and a rainbow flag flying proudly over the Beach.


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